Who Wrote The Bible?
Considering the fact that the Bible is the bestselling book of all time with several copies in many homes, one would get diverse responses to the question: Who wrote the Bible? Many Jews, Christians, and Muslims will answer, ‘God’. Others will refer to unnamed, unknown authors of the distant past. Some will refer to multiple authors such as Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, or Ezekiel. Most will probably shake their heads, admit they do not know, and continue with their business of the moment. A few will say: "Who cares?" Despite the fact that it is the most popular book in the world, its contents and structure remain a mystery to a vast majority of those who swear by its supposed message. One is almost forced to wonder whether many people reverence their idea of what the Bible should be, rather than the Bible itself.
Reading the Bible by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1755) Louvre Museum. (Public Domain)
The question remains: Who wrote the Bible? The study behind this question usually reigns in the rarified atmosphere of theological institutions but has implications far beyond the halls of academia. The Bible and other sacred texts, which have profoundly shaped man’s world view in ways of which one is not even aware, were all compiled by groups of men who had already formed and solidified their ideology. They had a fully formed point of view and an aggressive agenda. They really thought they knew best what should be released to the public and what should be discarded.
In other words, to be as brutally honest as possible, one very well might have been patronized by a religious establishment that long ago lost any claim to accurate historical relevancy. Religion as one knows it, which comprises man’s search for meaning and purpose — the quest for what makes life important — was shaped by opinionated scholars who sincerely claimed they were doing the work of God while secretly, and maybe not fully understanding what they were doing, sought to use religion for their own purposes. Their mission was one of power and control. Decisions about which texts to accept and which to destroy were slanted in a particular direction.
So, in answer to the central question — Who wrote the Bible? — a simple answer is that the Bible is not a single book as much as it is a collection of books.
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Jim Willis is author of several books on religion and spirituality, he has been an ordained minister for over forty years while working part-time as a carpenter, the host of his own drive-time radio show, an arts council director and adjunct college professor in the fields of World Religions and Instrumental Music. He is the author of Faith, Trust, & Belief: A Trilogy of the Spirit,
Top Image: Still life with Bible by Vincent van Gogh (1885) Van Gogh Museum (Public Domain)
By Jim Willis